kneaded-to-deathAre you a baker? Straight from the box brownies, or are you able to follow more complex recipes? Can you bake bread with a long rise? Truthfully, I didn’t even know what a long rise was, let alone how to do it. That is, until I met Olaya Solis.

It all started when I moved back to Santa Sofia, California. I’d been in Austin, Texas for most of my adult life, but a divorce and the sudden death of my mother brought me back to my seaside hometown. It didn’t take long before I discovered Yeast of Eden, owned by the indomitable Olaya Solis. And it wasn’t long after that before I started taking a baking class at the bread shop.

And I learned the secret of the long rise.

I also learned more secrets than I ever dreamed I would. Santa Sofia, I discovered, was not always the idyllic community I remembered it to be. There were the usual community politics, especially surrounding the historic commission and the old houses on Maple Street. There was my dad and my brother, and the grief we were all feeling over the loss of my mother. But there were other problems, too. Penelope Branford was an octogenarian firecracker and had become my new best friend. But she and Olaya were enemies. Which complicated things.

What else did I discover in my return to Santa Sofia?

Miguel Baptista. Tall, dark, and the handsome man who’d broken my heart in high school. He was back. I was back. And I had no idea how I was going to deal with the wide variety of emotions that had suddenly resurfaced as a result.

And as if that wasn’t enough to deal with in my return to Santa Sofia, there was something even worse.

Namely murder.

I am not making this up. It really happened. On the first evening of the bread baking class at Yeast of Eden, actually.

Can you guess what that means? That’s right. With the help of Mrs. Branford and her velour sweat suits, I became an amateur sleuth and dove into solving that murder.

Let me just say that my baking has improved. And murder? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out.

XO Ivy Culpepper

You can read more about Ivy in Kneaded To Death, the first book in the NEW “Bread Shop” mystery series.

Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Sofia, California. That is, until the thirty-six-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Solis, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car. Even more devastating, the prime suspect is Olaya Solis herself. Doubting the woman could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove her innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

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Meet the author
The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century-old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at

Winnie Archer is the pseudonym for national bestselling author Melissa Bourbon. Learn more at

All comments are welcomed.

Kneaded To Death is available at retail and online booksellers.

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